Photo/Illutration A close look reveals that the unevenness of the creases of the Buddhist robe is emphasized. (Yuki Shibata)

NARA--Glass photographic plates that preserve the beauty of the damaged murals in Horyuji temple’s Kondo main hall are currently on display at a featured exhibition at the Nara National Museum here.

The glass plates capture the former brilliance of the murals, which were painted during the Asuka Period (592-710) and badly scorched in a 1949 fire. The plates are designated as important cultural properties by the government.

Organized by the museum, Horyuji, Benrido Inc. and The Asahi Shimbun, the “Important Cultural Property, Glass Photographic Plates of the Murals in the Kondo Hall of Horyuji Temple: Tracing the History of the Photography of Cultural Properties” exhibition runs until Jan. 13.

The murals are believed to be one of the greatest works of Buddhist art in East Asia, but they lost their colors during the fire.

The glass plates were shot by Benrido, a long-established art studio in Kyoto, in 1935. The plates are said to be the most accurate record of the murals before the fire.

The special exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to trace the history of photographs of cultural properties, focusing on glass photographic plates. Admission is 520 yen ($4.75) for adults and 260 yen for college students.

For more information, visit the museum’s official website at (